In Brussels on 5 November 2013, a consortium made up of PBI UK, the Mexican Commission to Defend and Promote Human Rights (CMDPDH) and Conexx presented the project “Protecting human rights defenders through building capacity and visibility”.

The three-year project is financed by the European Union and will provide human rights defenders (HRDs) in four Mexican states (Baja California, the Federal District, Guerrero and Oaxaca) with tools to help them strengthen their capacities in documentation, advocacy, profile-raising and media relations.

“Through different activities the HRDs will share their experiences and the problems they work with,” said the project coordinator, Axel García, of CMDPDH. “But above all their courage, because despite being threatened, imprisoned, criminalised, harassed and having suffered attempts on their lives, they continue fighting to improve their environment and their community.”

He added: “The Project is not a protection mechanism to replace governmental protection because we agree with the UN Declaration on human rights defenders, in that “the fundamental responsibility and duty to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms falls to the state”.

Defending indigenous women's rights - Silvia Pérez

Also present at the presentation event was Silvia Pérez Yescas, of the organisation CIARENA, to present her testimony as a defender of the rights of women and indigenous peoples. For her work defending victims of domestic violence, Silvia Pérez Yescas suffered threats and attacks that forced her to leave her community and her home state of Oaxaca.

“It is not only I, Silvia, who is experiencing this situation, but also a great number indigenous women human rights defenders in Mexico,” Silvia said. “Many of us are in grave danger.”

How many more deaths?

CMDPDH and Sandía Digital have produced the video How many more deaths? - which features Silvia Pérez - as part of the project 'Protecting human rights defenders through building capacity and visibility'. [Spanish with English subtitles]